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TMT – Foreign firms

Index of tables

  1. TMT – Foreign firms
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Matt Pollins leads the commercial and TMT teams at CMS in Singapore. His experience ranges across local and international cases involving transactional, regulatory and related IP and dispute resolution issues. The team has advised clients such as Microsoft, Unilever and Dentsu Aegis Network and assists with matters as diverse as cloud computing, supply chains, advertising law, data protection and cyber security. Jeremy Tan who is with CMS Holborn is well regarded for his technology sourcing, outsourcing, FinTech and data protection expertise.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP, together with its alliance firm Prolegis LLC, provides 'prompt response times, has a good understanding of industry issues and is able to leverage on solutions to similar problems in the South East Asia region' and 'is one of the better telecoms practices that has a team that has depth in the region'. Mark Robinson, who heads the team, is a popular choice with clients for his 'good technical knowledge of the telecoms sector and for thinking about the practical issues'. He works in tandem with the highly experienced Safa Zahedi, who heads up the Prolegis team. The group acts on high-profile matters and recent work includes Robinson and Zahedi leading a team that advised Softbank on its investment in a new equity funding round for Grab. It is also assisting a number of well-known clients on a range of regulatory issues.

The 'excellent, very responsive and very commercially minded' team at Norton Rose Fulbright has an impressively comprehensive range of expertise, both regionally and internationally through its network of offices. In addition to telecoms, IT and outsourcing matters, it handles mandates concerning evolving disruptive technologies in the financial services sector; cryptocurrency and blockchain matters and related regulatory developments and initial coin offerings. The team also advises on data protection and cybersecurity. Stella Cramer, who has 'a very commercial' approach, is valued for 'understanding the regulatory framework very well, particularly in relation to outsourcing and data issues' and is also 'up-to-date on privacy, outsourcing and fintech developments'. Telecoms expert David Olds is also a noted member of the team. Gigi Cheah has left the firm.

Linklaters’ strong Asia TMT practice has its centre in Singapore from where it handles a comprehensive range of expertise spanning technology and commercial contracting, IT outsourcing, fintech, cybersecurity and related regulatory regimes. The team provides 'superb legal support' and stands out for its ability to 'translate business requirements into the agreements'. The practice is headed by Adrian Fisher, who together with associate Gui Chung Yee, has 'in-depth knowledge of the TMT space'. Niranjan Arasaratnam heads the TMT sector team and also co-heads the firm’s global TMT sector practice, focusing on M&A, investments and joint ventures and recently promoted managing associate Joel Cheang is another key team member. Clients include Microsoft, BHP Billiton Thomson Reuters.

Giles Kennedy heads the group at Milbank, which has expertise in financing, corporate matters and restructurings in the TMT sector. In a recent highlight, the group advised NetLink NBN on the IPO of NetLink NBO Trust. It is also advising a global internet company on all aspects of the establishment of a fibre optic network service in Singapore, which has included advising on several equity issuances, as well as regulatory and corporate matters.

The team at Morrison & Foerster (Singapore) LLP is 'very focused on business' and is 'commercially savvy'. It assists clients with investments, joint ventures and finance matters, especially those in the fintech and insurance fields. Practice head Jake Robson led the team advising Big Pay on its work with AirAsia concerning the development and roll out of a platform whereby a pre-paid card, linked to a mobile wallet application, could be used by customers. The team also advised Chubb on a regional distribution joint venture with Grab in order to provide insurance products through Grab’s platform to both customers of Grab and Grab drivers. Shirin Tang is highlighted for her 'commercial sense and for being proactive and efficient'. Craig Celniker, who heads the disputes team and acts for a range of TMT clients, is 'very business minded' and has 'a deep understanding' of China-related matters.

Clifford Chance's team in Singapore acts for a diverse range of clients including corporates, banks, sovereign wealth funds and private equity houses throughout the region. Its multi-disciplinary offering covers M&A, IP, disputes and regulatory matters around data protection compliance and cyrptocurrency matters. Key practitioners include Paul Landless, who has a focus on fintech matters, and new arrivals Luke Grubb and senior associate Sally Murphy, who joined the practice in 2017 from Latham & Watkins LLP. Highlights included acting for a number of major corporates on IT outsourcing and procurement and it advised Fujitsu on the formation of a joint venture with Lenovo Group and the Development Bank of Japan with a focus on R&D and sales of computing devices for the global PC market. It also advised  Credit Suisse on the expansion of its digital private banking platform and its collaboration with Mesitis, a fintech start-up.

Latham & Watkins LLP's technology transactions practice works in tandem with its industry group to provide multi-disciplinary services, and is also able to draw on the firm's expertise in its European, US and Middle Eastern offices. Sharon Lau and Rajiv Gupta head the team following Luke Grubb's departure in November 2017 to join Clifford Chance. New hires include Shihani Soysa, who joined in March 2018, and Monsiree Jirasarunya, who was a new arrival in April 2018. The team handles an impressive range of M&A, joint ventures and financing and recently advised Singapore Technologies Telemedia on its acquisition of a 74% stake in the data centre businesses of Tata Communications.

TMT – Local firms

Index of tables

  1. TMT – Local firms
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next Generation Partners

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

Drew & Napier LLC is 'terrific – very knowledgeable in the TMT space and very responsive' and Lim Chong Kin, who leads the team, 'is a genuine subject matter expert and is also remarkably responsive and friendly'. Charmian Aw and senior associate Shawn Ting are other core members of a team that handles the gamut of TMT work including transactional, licensing and regulatory matters, outsourcing and data privacy. The group acts for global and regional telecoms, technology and media clients ranging from global corporates to start-ups. It is providing assistance to Super Sea Cable Networks, including on regulatory matters, regarding the deployment of an international submarine cable system which is expected to complete via three phases in 2021.

Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP's team produces work of 'a very good quality', has 'the relevant industry knowledge', provides 'prompt' advice and is 'good value for money'. It has an outstanding breadth of expertise across the TMT sector. In addition to handling matters concerning telecoms, technology and large-scale outsourcing, media and over-the-top services and data privacy, it also focuses on developing areas such as cyber security and fintech. Practice head Rajesh Sreenivasan and Steve Tan, who is 'one of the gurus in the field of data protection' and also has considerable digital media and telecoms expertise, are key names. Partner Benjamin Cheong is 'one of the brightest minds in the industry' in respect of IP and data protection in addition to his broader TMT expertise. Lionel Tan and Tanya Tang are other core team members.

Allen & Gledhill LLP attracts praise for its 'sound and prompt advice and its bench strength'. The group's comprehensive expertise spans the acquisition and financing of technology companies, licensing, regulatory and data protection as well as related IP protection. It also advises on developing areas such as cloud systems and fintech. Tan Wee Meng and Yeo Boon Kiat led a team that advised NetLink NBN and SingTel on a S$2.3bn IPO and listing of NetLink NBN Trust on the Singapore Exchange Securities Trading. Other work included assisting the Asean Football Federation on its appointment of Lagardère Sports as the exclusive marketing and media rights holder for the Suzuki Cup. Tham Kok Leong  and Dr Stanley Lai, SC are highly regarded.

The team at Baker McKenzie Wong & Leow stands out for 'its wide knowledge of local and foreign laws, excellent industry knowledge and strong understanding of commercial practices.' The group handles procurement, IT outsourcing projects, e-commerce, and data privacy and protection matters. Practice head Ken Chia has 'extensive knowledge of local and foreign data privacy laws', as well as telecoms and IT-related experience. Anne Petterd handles transactional and regulatory work as well as IT procurement projects. The team has been especially active in advising on data protection breaches and related internal investigations.

Bird & Bird ATMD LLP handles transactions and disputes in the technology and telecoms sectors and is well placed to assist with regional and global mandates. Highlights included advising Effective Space Solutions on its negotiations with two customers to launch a space drone that will perform life-extension services to communications satellites currently in geosynchronous orbit. It is also assisting Australia-Singapore Cable with the commercial and regulatory issues concerning the construction of a subsea communications cable from Singapore to Australia, and advising on the commercial and regulatory aspects of a new extension to the subsea cable to Indonesia. Alexander Shepherd 'is extremely well versed in his subject matter' and is able to 'stake out good negotiating approaches'. Shepherd's expertise spans the commercial and regulatory aspects of telecoms, IT and e-commerce with a focus on technology procurement and regulated outsourcings. Jonathan Choo is a key name for contentious matters and senior associate Daniel Song is also a name to note.

Gilbert Leong, Woon-Chooi Yew and Catherine Lee are the key names at Dentons Rodyk. The team has comprehensive expertise in the TMT arena, including handling large-scale procurement and services contracts, data privacy issues and disputes. Its clients range from those in the healthcare and retail sector to banks and other financial institutions and includes multi-national IT service providers. It acted for PAY Issuer (an affiliate of TenX) on its sale of cryptographic tokens known as PAY tokens; the sale which was denominated in cryptocurrency amounted to approximately $80m.  In other work, it advised bike sharing company OFO, following its recent expansion into Singapore, including advising the client on its e-commerce platform, data protection and regulatory issues.

Pinsent Masons MPillay's team is 'pragmatic and engaging and always willing to help'. The group's expertise includes IT transactions and advisory work and technology sourcing, and it also works with the firm's corporate crime team to assist with cyber security issues. Bryan Tan is 'knowledgeable, approachable, pleasant and willing to share his expertise readily'. He and senior associate Nathanael Lim advised Creative Hothouse Technologies, a digital community and media creation company, on all matters relating to the  running of its initial coin offering including compliance and IP issues. The group also assists Razer with a range of matters such as regulatory and licensing compliance concerning electronic currency and IP, and recently advised on the client's successful stock exchange listing. Senior associate Arwen Berry is 'commercial, pragmatic and personable'.

WongPartnership LLP provides 'a good balance between legal and regulatory requirements and practical solutions'. Areas of expertise include IT roll outs and related disputes, media-related licensing and regulatory regimes and telecoms-related commercial and regulatory issues. In recent work, the team advised a number of clients including banks and start-ups on fintech issues. It is also advising clients on the deployment of automated robo advisers and algorithms. Lam Chung Nian, who heads the firm's TMT and IP practices, is valued for providing 'solutions that are always direct and to the point and for being very approachable and open to discussions'.  Kylie Peh is another noted partner. Jeffrey Lim has left the firm.

Duane Morris & Selvam LLP provides 'very good service, quick response times and knows the industry and market well'. Managing director, Krishna Ramachandra leads the practice and Gerard Hekker offers significant experience advising on areas such as infrastructure deployment and sharing agreements, licensing, roaming and spectrum sharing agreements and online payment platforms. The team's broad experience covers telecoms acquisitions work, media regulations, licensing, data protection, regulatory issues and new technologies. It represented Protelindo as international counsel in connection with its acquisition of PT  Komet Infra Nusantara, an Indonesian telecoms tower company, through an auction sale process conducted by the company’s shareholders and debt holders. It is also advising Dentsu on the media rights agreements with the International Olympic Committee for the 2018 and 2022 Winter Games and 2020 and 2024 Summer Games in respect of 22 countries. Derrick Boo and Suilyn Yip have been promoted from senior associates to associate directors.

OC Queen Street is, according to one client, 'by far the market leader in the area of cutting edge issues presented by new technologies like cryptocurrencies and artificial intelligence'. Managing director Chia-Ling Koh is 'sharp and very perceptive', his 'understanding of the underlying technology is unmatched' and 'he has a winning personality which makes every project exciting to work on'. Senior associate Gerald Tan is 'energetic and client oriented' and Ong Chin Kiat 'is very thorough and detailed'. Benjamin Ang has joined the team as a special counsel while also retaining a role as a senior fellow at the Centre of Excellence for National Security. The team acts for clients in a raft of sectors, advising on digital business and most recently it assisted Airbnb with the payments system regulatory framework in Singapore. It also successfully defended Singtel, as one of five defendants, in a case where the claimant sought to block a website for illegally streaming Korean dramas.

Winnie Chang, who is 'a practical, commercial advisor with excellent knowledge of the law', heads OrionW LLC's team, which provides 'an excellent service, is very knowledgeable in the technology sector and provides excellent value for money'. The specialist firm covers technology, media and telecoms matters including fintech for clients ranging from multi-nationals to start-ups and has a focus on advising the latter on emerging technologies and related regulations. In a recent example, the group advised a Singapore-based startup on its development of a new decentralised professional network on the Ethereum blockchain, including assisting with its digital token offering and the launch of its platform. It also advised a European client on its end-user license agreement in the sphere of digital banking software solutions.

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing LLP advises technology and IT clients on a range of practice areas including corporate M&A and IP.  Jonathan Kok and  Erwan Barre jointly head a team that counts Yitu Technology, Infocus Asia and Generix among its clients. It assisted DPDgroup-Geopost with its investment into Ninja Van, a Singapore-headquartered e-commerce logistics company with a presence in Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia and Myanmar. It also advised a multinational computer software company on its commercial contracts, data protection matters and employment issues in Asia Pacific.

Shook Lin & Bok LLP acts for IT and telecoms sector clients and investors on IP, financing and asset acquisition. Its client roster ranges from early stage local start-ups to well-known international corporations including Amazon, Billboard, SoftBank and WPP Group. It acted for a fintech company in its successful negotiations with the Monetary Authority of Singapore concerning its remittance licence application to provide services in the international payment industry. Key contacts in the team include David Chong, Eric Chan  and Ho Ying Ming.

Taylor Vinters Via LLC is a specialist TMT and IP boutique with a focus on data privacy, cyber security, the licensing of technology and related investment matters and is increasingly handling blockchain and cryptocurrency work. It attracts clients from areas including finance and e-payments, social media and gaming. Accredited arbitrator Bryan Ghows  heads the team and frequently works with Yingyu Wang  and senior associate Ruth Ng. Highlights included acting for B Buster, a subsidiary of the company that operates Bithumb, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, on all aspects of its proposed token offering. The group is also assisting BitGuild, which operates a decentralised gaming platform, on its initial token offering of its PLAT token.

The team at Gateway Law Corporation has notable expertise in the communications, IT, domain names and regulatory compliance space, where it frequently works for tech start-ups and entrepreneurs. Managing director Max Ng Chee Weng specialises in IP litigation, privacy and data protection in the TMT arena and counsel  Michael Leow  focuses on media and entertainment and broader commercial law. In recent work, it advised a major IT support services provider on an inquiry by the Personal Data Protection Commission and is also representing the client in arbitration proceedings.

Withers KhattarWong LLP stands out for its 'prompt response times, industry knowledge and appropriateness of advice'. Jim Lim is the highly regarded head of the IP and technology department and advises on a range of IP protection and commercialisation, procurement of IT services and other transactions in the tech sector. Recent work includes advising an insurance company on a software development project in collaboration with a start-up firm, to incorporate artificial intelligence technology into its operations.

Interview with...

Law firm partners and practice heads explain how their firms are adapting to clients' changing needs

Interview with...

Law firm partners and practice heads explain how their firms are adapting to clients' changing needs

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